Transportation Security Administration

TSA’s explosive detection dogs in a calendar

Need a gift for the dog lover on your list?

The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) annual calendar might fit the bill.

The 2023 calendar honors the agency’s more than 1,000 explosives detection canines working in the United States. Ebbers, the TSA’s 2022 Cutest Canine contest winner, and a (now retired) explosives detection canine at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is on the cover.

The 2023 TSA Canine Calendar features photos and fun facts about each canine of the month and notes a wide variety of notable major and minor holidays, including National Popcorn Day and Squirrel Appreciation Day.

Here are the pups featured in order of their appearance on the calendar:

  • Dusan: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Rossi: Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • Tom-Magnum: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Shadow-Shaw: John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)
  • Djole: LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • Loki: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • Szonja: Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
  • EEbbers: Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Egyes-Abel: Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
  • Messi: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Ava: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Tex-Teepe: San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
  • Teo: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)

Download your free copy of the TSA 2023 Canine Calendar here.

TSA finds a gun hidden in a chicken at a Florida Airport

Let’s give credit to the TSA officers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) who cracked the case of the passenger whose carry-on luggage contained a raw chicken with a gun hidden inside.

TSA takes offenses like this seriously. But the agency isn’t above cackling and crowing about finds like this on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

“There’s a personal fowl here…” TSA noted in its Instagram post, adding that “The plot chickens as we barrel our way closer to Thanksgiving.”

The chicken puns didn’t stop there.

Far from it.

Courtesy OSU Special Collection & Archives, via FlickrCommons

TSA said it was thankful its officers “are always working around the cluck to keep you safe” when noting the “hen you believe it?” find at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

“We hate to beak it to you here, but stuffing a firearm in your holiday bird for travel is just a baste of time. This idea wasn’t even half-baked; it was raw, greasy, and obviously unsupervised. The only roast happening there is this poor packing choice.

Feather you like it or not, there are rules for traveling with guns and ammunition. So, don’t wing it; roost over the proper packaging info through the link in our bio.

Guns in chickens are the least of it

While the gun-in-a-chicken scheme is unusual, TSA officers have a lot of experience spotting guns at Florida airports

Earlier this month the TSA noted that so far this year a record 700 guns had been found at Florida airport checkpoints and nearly every one of these guns was loaded. “Most had ammunition chambered,” TSA said.

Here’s some of the breakdown, as of November 3:

Orlando International Airport (MCO): 129 guns;

Ft. Lauderdale -Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 120 guns:

Tampa International Airport (TPA): 102 guns;

Miami International Airport (MIA): 83 guns;

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX): 58 guns;

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW): 37 guns;

TSA says in Florida, and in many other states, most passengers found with firearms at the checkpoint are arrested or issued notices to appear in court.

“Passengers face a civil penalty from the TSA that can reach as much as $13,910 and that is imposed regardless of whether the individual is arrested by our law enforcement partners,” TSA reminds travelers. And “If the traveler is in the TSA PreCheck program, those privileges will be lost for a period of time, possibly permanently.”

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. As of mid-September 2022, more than 4,600 guns had been found. And given the uptick in firearm ‘finds’ the TSA has been reporting around the country, it’s a good bet that the tally will break a record again this year.

Travel Tidbits From An Airport Near You

TSA May Still Make You Wear A Mask

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling that allows the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require mask-wearing on planes, trains, and other forms of transport.  

The TSA stopped enforcing a mask mandate in April of this year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate was struck down by a federal judge in Florida.

Are you still wearing a mask when you fly? COVID is still out there and we’ve seen lots of people wearing masks in airports and on planes.

Longer Hours for SEA’s Spot Saver program

Hate waiting in long airport security lines?

A great amenity popping up at airports is a program that allows travelers to make a timed reservation to go through the security line.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) was the first airport in the U.S. to offer the service, which they call Spot Saver. And it has become so popular that SEA is now expanding the program, just in time for the upcoming busy holiday travel season. 

Previously, the advanced check-in option for security checkpoint lines was only available during the busiest times of the day, until 1 p.m. Now travelers can use the service afternoons and evenings as well.

Other airports around the country offer a similar service. Check your airport’s website for the option before getting in that long security line.

New Airport Socks Alert

The Stuck at The Airport fashion reporter has a great collection of airport socks. And it looks like there’s an opportunity to add a new pair to the collection.

Here’s how to get them:

Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) turns 60 this month, on November 17. And throughout November, airport visitors who purchase three items in the Duty Free Americas shops can show their receipts and get a free pair of socks. But only 1000 pairs are available.

There will also be special events on the airport’s anniversary day, November 17, including free cookies and throwback prices for coffee.

Tips for traveling with gifts

Getting your gifts through airport security

Flying this week?

Stay safe, stay sane, and pay attention to the gifts you put in your carry-on bags.

TSA officers may ask you to unwrap a package if they need to get a look at what’s inside. That can be slow you down, of course, but it could also spoil a holiday surprise if the gift you’ve carefully wrapped is for one of your traveling companions.

One suggestion – offered in the TSA Travel Talk below – is to pack presents in gift bags so that checkpoint staff can look at the contents without ruining a great wrapping job.

But Alton DuLaney, who happens to be both a world-famous gift wrap artist and Houston Airports’ public art curator, isn’t a fan of gift bags.

“I feel like gift bags are a little lazy when you’ve gone to all the trouble to find the perfect gift for someone,” he told us in a pre-holiday interview. He offered a few more creative, TSA-friendly, wrapping alternatives.

One idea is to use a box with a lid and wrap the bottom of the box and the lid of the box separately.

“That way you can open the box to show TSA what’s inside. And when you get to where you going just tie on a ribbon and you’re ready to give the gift,” said DuLaney.

Another option is to put gifts in decorated tins or containers that can be easily opened and reclosed at the security checkpoint.

“You can also wrap gifts in clear colored or printed cellophane. And that way TSA can still see what’s inside as well.”

On Monday, December 20 from 9 am to 3 pm, both Hobby Airport (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston will be hosting free gift-wrapping stations. DuLaney will be at Hobby Airport but says he’s carefully trained the teams that will be staffing the tables at both airports.

Many other airports around the country will be offering free gift wrap stations during this busy travel week as well. Some will be collecting donations for local charities, so tip generously and take the opportunity to do some last-minute shopping at your airport. Those stores could really use your business this year.

TSA’s Far Out Social Media Accounts

Once again, it looks like someone is having a little too much fun with the Transportation Security Administration’s social media accounts.

The TSA has a handy “What Can I Bring?” tool that is part of the agency’s standing offer to help travelers figure out what they may and may not put in their carry-on bags and in checked luggage.

But not everything is covered. Hence the question: “Can I take my 850-pound THC infused brownie?”

See the TSA’s answers to that question and their advice on a few other travel items below.

And have a great weekend, wherever you are traveling.